You’re never too old for a cochlear implant

When Dulcie 'Loyal' Selleck was in her 90s, she dismissed the idea of a cochlear implant to improve her hearing claiming it was a ‘waste of time and money’ because of her old age.

When Dulcie 'Loyal' Selleck was in her 90s, she dismissed the idea of a cochlear implant to improve her hearing claiming it was a ‘waste of time and money’ because of her old age.

‘I will probably be dead in six months,’ she told her family.

But at age 98, Loyal’s life was transformed when she became one of the oldest Australians to receive a Cochlear™ implant.

Loyal recently celebrated her 100th birthday, and was able to enjoy the festivities held in her honour all the more because she could hear almost every word spoken.

‘It’s the best thing,’ she said of her capacity to hear the world around her. ‘It’s lovely to hear their [family] voices. I can hear the birds talking…

It’s lovely to talk to friends.’ Loyal’s four children and their families were among special guests at the party including multichannel cochlear implant inventor Professor Graeme Clark.

Her youngest daughter, Joy Murphy, recalled her mother’s reluctance to have a cochlear implant reasoning that at her age, it would be a waste of time and money.

Joy said her mother now wished she had acted sooner. She said her mother goes out five days a week, meets up with friends twice a week, enjoys eating chocolate while riding her exercise bike and loves her crosswords, reading and bingo.

Loyal said before her cochlear implant she couldn’t even hear thunder, was unable to communicate and tried to lip read.

Sarah Selleck, who travelled with her family from Saudi Arabia for her grandmother’s special day, recalled accompanying her to a hearing specialist several years ago. ‘She had a new hearing aid and she got her hopes up that it would be wonderful and she would be able to hear.

To see her face falling with disappointment, it brought a tear to my eye. It was devastating. She hides it well but you could tell she was disappointed.’ A happy and relaxed Loyal, delighted to be doing something in support of cochlear implants said: ‘You are never too old.’ The great grandmother who worked as a talented seamstress while raising her children living on a farm, is quietly pleased to be 100, although she only feels ‘about 60’.

And for the record, she is known as Loyal because her mum knew a lovely girl called Loyal. ‘She couldn’t call me Loyal Dulcie so she called me Dulcie Loyal.’

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